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Bauer Slams LuLu; Roth Gets Cozy at Le P'tit Laurent

[Photo: Yuichi Sakuraba/Flickr]

"The interior still feels relevant" at LuLu, where Bauer stopped in for his most recent update review. But he wasn't so thrilled with the 21-year-old restaurant's kitchen, whose "lethargic and formulaic" approach produced food that was, in general, "a letdown." "Imprecisely plated" asparagus, "underdone" pizza and chicken that was "a little too dry" all left Bauer unimpressed, and a service mixup brought "a lopsided pile" of cauliflower instead of the calamari, which ended up "a little too chewy" when it did arrive. "It's too bad, because the elements that made the restaurant a success are still there," he says. "With a little more enthusiasm, Lulu could - or at least should - be as busy as the day it opened." Two stars. [Chron]

Anna Roth paid a visit to Le P'tit Laurent, a true Glen Park local's spot that's "one of those neighborhood places that are excellent in the context of its location, though not necessarily outside of it." "Nary a plate was Instagrammed" at the seven-year-old bistro, and "everyone seemed to be unself-consciously enjoying themselves," a rarity in San Francisco's scene-y dining hotspots. "It was all very bewitching," but atmosphere had one over on food: though frog's legs and escargot satisfied, French onion soup was a "disappointment," and entrees were mixed, with a "fine rendition" of beef bourguignon and "less successful" cassoulet. "But the magic of these places is that for the course of a meal, you, too, feel like you belong to the community they foster," observes Roth. "I wonder if that sense of belonging that only a small neighborhood restaurant can provide will begin to fetch more of a premium." [SF Weekly]

Meanwhile, Molly Gore headed to Prubechu, where goods from Guam worked thanks to chef Shawn Naputi's "style and sensibility." The cooking is "exciting in varied ways," with Gore calling it "balanced, unusual and rooted in place, with half the ingredients making their way here in a suitcase." Salt sourced from Guam is "perfectly subtle" atop housemade coconut ice cream, escabeche is "snacky, balanced and rich with umami," and the chalakilis is "is soft but toothsome, earthy and rich." "The flavors might be foreign here, but the hospitality feels like home." [Examiner]

Luke Tsai investigated new cocktail-and-karaoke bar Dragon Gate and found "an unexpectedly broad — and tasty — Taiwanese menu." "This is the kind of bar where there's a cocktail called 'The Drunken Master' and another called the 'Shanghai Noon,'" and Tsai is okay with that, seeing as Dragon Gate also offers "some of the best, and most authentic, Taiwanese food in the East Bay." The tomato-based beef noodle soup version "is very good," "idiot noodles" were "even better," and the "three-cup sauce" chicken "was a deliciously savory stew." Depending on your point of view, this spot "is either coolly atmospheric or garish and over the top," and Tsai is in the former camp: "So let me apologize in advance: "there's a decent chance you'll find me here for my next birthday celebration." [EBX]


816 Folsom St., San Francisco CA